Strengthen your team with these fantasy sleepers
Every season in the National Football League seems to produce a handful of lesser known players who put together strong statistical seasons and wreak havoc on fantasy leagues across the nation. Last year it was Arian Foster and Michael Vick who were low draft picks or week 1 free agents who became fantasy stars and upset the competitive balance in many leagues.
Here are 5 sleepers who are primed to have breakout fantasy seasons.
#1 - Josh Freeman (Bucs)Credit: thepewterplank.com
Josh Freeman has only started 25 games in the NFL. Yet this 6'6", 250-lb athlete is primed to put up huge numbers for the Bucs this season. Last year, Freeman passed for 3,451 yards while tossing 25 Td passes. Look for these numbers to improve with Freeman playing behind a more experienced offensive front and with the emergence of LeGarrette Blount. Freeman could very possibly put up 4,000 yards passing while throwing 30 touchdowns. Freeman also had the second most rushing yards among quarterbacks last season, but did not score a rushing touchdown. Expect that to change this year with Freeman crossing the goal line 2-4 times this season.
#2 - Jimmy Graham (Saints)Credit: zimbio.com
The New Orleans Saints struck gold when they selected TE Jimmy Graham with the 95th pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Graham is a physical freak with the hands of a veteran wideout. Last season he collected 5 touchdown receptions on only 31 catches. Expect Graham to be targeted more this season as Drew Brees become more comfortable with the matchups created by Graham. 8 to 10 touchdown receptions for Graham is a possibility, and excellent value for a player who can be picked up as a backup TE in most drafts.
#3 - Chad Ochocinco (Patriots)
Take a look back to the last two "washed up" wide receivers the Patriots have rescued from dismal franchises.
Deion Branch and Randy Moss.
Branch was a super bowl MVP and Moss toppled records.
Talent-wise, Ocho falls somewhere in between Branch and Moss, but I suspect that he will produce numbers that will leave him as a top 10 fantasy WR. Ochocinco is falling in drafts as far as the 25-30th Wr taken. Grab Ocho at the right time, and you will be well on your way to securing one of the most volatile positions in fantasy football.
#4 - LeGarrette Blount (Bucs)
Blount fell in the 2010 NFL draft and is falling in fantasy drafts in many leagues this year. Blount benefits from having Josh Freeman playing quarterback, as many defenses will choose to key on Freeman as the year progresses. Blount will not make waves with a 1800 yard, 15 TD year. However, he will very steadily have a 1200-1300 yard year with 8-12 touchdowns as he becomes a feature back in this league. Pick him up mid-round and watch the points pile up.
#5 - Matthew Stafford (Lions)
Its simple with Stafford: Will he stay healthy? He has shown that he can be an elite level quarterback in the NFL if he can stay on his feet. This will be the year Stafford proves that he is in fact not made of glass, and he has an entire season of throwing to Calvin Johnson. Stafford could easily put up 4500 yards and 30 touchdowns this year, and he is available in the mid to late rounds in most drafts.